Royce Da 5’9” first burst onto the international stage when Eminem's Slim Shady LP hit the streets. At the time, Royce’s duo with Eminem, Bad Meets Evil, garnered accolades from across the board in hip-hop. A decade later, Royce is still turning out mad rhymes, as featured on his latest tape Bar Exam 2, as well as work on P Diddy’s latest tracks. Andreas Hwang (aka Young Kin) talks to this hip-hop heavyweight before his show tonight at VICS.
Hi Royce, how have you been doing lately? Please give a brief introduction for those who don’t know you already.
My name is Royce Da 5’9” and I’m from Detroit Michigan. I got my start battling other rappers around the city until I met Eminem in ‘97 and was featured on his first album the Slim Shady LP. I later wrote for Dr. Dre and most recently P Diddy.
Please tell us about your current projects. Word is that your new Mixtape Bar Exam 2 is heating up the streets in and out of the D.
Yeah, the Bar Exam 2 is my latest mixtape. I’m working on a new album called Street Hop and it will be executive produced by DJ Premier. Look for that in March ‘09. **
I’ve heard you and Eminem are on good terms again, how did that happen? For our viewers, who don’t know what happened between you and Em, please explain the situation briefly.
There was never any real issues between me and Em just a misunderstanding but we’re good now.
What is your view on the current state of hip-hop in the US?
I think the current state of hip-hop is not that bad. There could definitely be more emphasis on lyrics, but you have people like me, Joe Budden, Crooked I and Joell Ortiz who are defiantly focused on bringing emcees back.
Any thoughts you would like to share on Obama’s becoming the first black president in the history of the United States?
All I can say about that is it’s a great time in American history and for the world.
What kind of impact does the current economic recession have on an artist, such as yourself?
The biggest impact is people have less money for their own personal enjoyment so they buy less music.
You are coming to Beijing, China’s capital, on December 6th. Is it your first time in China? What do you expect to see?
Yes this is my first time to China. I don’t have any real expectations but I’m really curious to see how the Chinese view hip-hop.
How do you feel about the upcoming show in Beijing? Any expectations or apprehensions?
No expectations at all, I just want to enjoy the culture, people and the cities.
Have you heard any Chinese hip-hop before? If yes, what is your take on it? If not, how would you picture it?
I’ve never heard any Chinese rap before. The only Chinese rapper I know is Jin.
Are you excited about seeing more Asian women than you have ever encountered in your life?
I’m always excited to see any woman from anywhere. But I am very curious to see how they react to me.
Is there any last words you’d like to say before we see you in Beijing on December 6th at Club VICS?
The only thing I have to say is that it’s an honor and pleasure to be able to come from Detroit to Bejing, and I cant wait to see some real Chinese hip-hop.